Spanish culture, not to mention its cuisine, is very diverse. Each region has its own typical dishes. You will find the best pinchos in the north of Spain, in the Basque Country, the traditional Butifarra sausage in Catalonia, and the national dish, paella comes from the Valencia region. It is one of the most popular Mediterranean dishes and, as with other Spanish dishes, paella relies on the freshness and variety of the ingredients.

To make paella, you only need a single pan, and no special utensils. The dish may remind some of you of Italian risotto, but it differs in terms of the preparation and the ingredients used. The recipe is supposed to have come from farmers in the area around Valencia. They worked in the fields and needed to save time. So they prepared lunches for all of them together in a large shallow pan over an open fire. Rice was cheap and there was plenty of it, seasonal vegetables too. If they fancied a bit of meat, they could catch some snails or a hare in the surrounding area.

Over time, other ingredients were added to paella, such as seafood or pieces of chicken, and it became the centrepiece of grander occasions. Family celebrations or gatherings at which making some great food for lots of people in one pan was the ideal thing to do.